Monday, 7 November 2011

Spiced Root Vegetable And Lentil Stew

Well the weather here has certainly turned, I think winter has officially arrived in Scotland as I pull on my gloves, hat and scarf.  All day the air has been cold and heavy with smoky fog.

It definitely is time for casseroles, ragouts and stews, such as this one.  Its bountiful in winter root vegetables and rib-sticking red lentils.   
Although spiced, this is not a  blow your head off 'spicy hot' stew.  Its not curried in flavour either, just body warming, perfect for the weather. 

You can easily serve this stew with mashed potatoes, but I actually fancied some more herby dumplings which of course I had to shape individually into flower petals.  I think if I had guests, it would have been cool to have brought the casserole pot to the table, but hey instead I had myself to amuse - sometimes I'm easily pleased. 
The red lentils in this stew make this post suitable for My Legume Love Affair 41, the current edition of the popular, legume-centered event created by Susan, The Well-Seasoned Cook, and hosted this month by Simona of briciole.  I am also sharing a bowl of this stew with Laura who is hosting Just Another Meatless Monday #83 at hey what's for dinner mom?

Fellow blogger Ajax made a variation of this stew recently, please follow this link; and so did The Cookie Jar, please go by and check them out!
Mildly Spiced Root Vegetable And Lentil Stew
Serves 6
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium onions, sliced

2 sticks celery, sliced
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground cumin
700g mixed root vegetables – swede, celeriac, parsnips, potatoes, turnips and carrots, peeled and chopped in even size bites
175g red lentils
2 garlic cloves, crushed
400g x tinned tomatoes, chopped
700ml vegetable stock
salt and black pepper to taste
fresh parsley, minced

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan and sauté the onions until tender, then stir in the spices and allow to infuse for a few minutes, before adding in the root vegetables and celery. Sauté for about 5 minutes, without browning, then stir in the lentils and garlic and cook for a few minutes further.  Mix in the tomatoes and stock, put a lid on the pan and leave it to simmer gently for about 30 minutes or until the vegetables are tender and the lentils are soft. Stir in the minced parsley.  Adapted from Rose Elliot's Complete Vegetarian Cookbook.

For the optional parsley dumplings
Makes around 8 - 12
110g self-raising flour
50g vegetable suet
1 tablespoon of minced fresh parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
Cold water to combine
The dumplings need to be added 15 minutes before the stew is ready.
In a bowl add flour, vegetables suet, parsley and seasoning to taste. Add enough water to combine and make a firm, not sticky dough. Then with floured hands, break the dough into 8 – 12 pieces and roll them into rough round dumplings. Add them gently to the stew, pushing them down into the liquid. Simmer gently for 15 minutes or until the dumplings have doubled in size.


  1. Tomorrow was going to be Country veg casserole but I think I will try this instead. I'm going to make seeded scones to go with it instead of the dumplings.

  2. I love stews! Here we say "guiso" and it´s one of my favorite food for cold seasons. Now it´s spring in Argentina, althought sometimes I take a soup or a winter stew.

  3. This sounds nice. Think I will have to give it a go. We don't get turnip or parsnips here do you think mooli radish will work?

  4. Thanks Cookie Jar - You made me smile by changing your menu for this recipe. I do so hope you like. I think seedy scones would be a fine sub. to dumplings. Enjoy!

    Hi Verónica,
    Oooh how I envy the sound of your Spring. Its quite cold here today :( and its only the beginning.

    Thanks Judith said...
    I think the mooli radish would work in place of the turnip, as for the parsnips which are a little sweeter, perhaps more carrots! I hope you enjoy. I like mooli, my mother grows it quite a bit - see the entry below.

  5. That looks divine! I love making soup because there's always food leftover for the week. :) Putting this recipe away for later!

  6. Thank you so much Ajax.
    If you get roudn to making his, there will really be lots left over. This meal is good for us for three days :) I don't mind, but I wish I was sharing some of it.

  7. Ashamed to say I have never made dumplings yet whenever I see them in recipes, I long to try them. Guess I am a little afraid they will fail. Yours look wonderful Shaheen, and the flower effect looks beautiful with the speckles of green in each petal.

  8. Have bookmarked this one. I haven't had any dumplings yet this season but seeing yours has me now craving them. And your pretty flower wasn't just to amuse yourself - we love it too!
    Thanks for this recipe - it really looks like a very hearty meal and I plan to make it next week (I make meal plans for the week and get the shopping in, so I don't really ever do anything spontaneously - but I'll be looking forward to it all week!) Lou.

  9. I think your flower is lovely. I must look out for vegetable suet - I'm a bit put off making dumplings with normal suet and this would be a fabulous compromise with dumpling loving partner.

  10. I spent a good 30 seconds looking at your first two photos and trying to figure out what the parsley dumplings were (I thought perhaps they were well disguised cauliflower!!). Such foolishness aside, this looks great :) Perfect for winter weather too.

  11. Thank you Fran.

    Hi Gardeningbren.
    Oh there is plenty of time to try them, I have no doubt they will featue in your home at some point before this year is out. I say, have some confidence in your cooking, your little
    dumplings will be absolutely fine! I used to be worried too, now look at me - dumplings aflow at the moment.

  12. Thank you Lou.
    I'm so pleased that the dumpling flower top delighted your eyes too!
    When I was growing my own veg in abundance, I would be cooking ad hoc a lot, but now with little home growing, I too plan my meals - but they are always in season, or at least I try hard.Do hope you try this, I think its mild enough for the kids to like too x

    Thank you so much Liz.
    You can also make the dumplings without suet. I have a recipe on my blog - see the post below.

    Thank you Kari.
    Mmm disguised cauliflower sounds good too!.
    I think some cauliflower bites in this stew would be fab too actaully.

  13. Very comfortable for the body and the spirit! Here in North Italy winter has not arrived yet, but we are experiencing heavy rains and floods. I love your stew and I find the dumplings very interesting, I thought there was some fresh cheese in them before reading the recipe, but they are made with flour! I put the recipe in my wish list!
    Have a nice eveneing over there :-D

  14. Thank you Fabipasticcio.
    I'm sorry to read that your experiencing floods and heavy rain where you are. There is a lot of it in the U.K too, esp. South Wales where my parents live.
    I do have cheese in another dumpling recipe if your interested in them - see the post below.

  15. That looks really yummie! I make similar lentil stews but never tried them with dumplings; yours look easy enough so I will try them with my next stew which will be very soon since we have cold and foggy weather here, too.

  16. Thanks Torwen, sorry to read the weather is turning where you are too, but at least you get to make soemthing a little more belly warming.

  17. MMMMMMMMMM,...I made this last night & it was the best lentils & root veggies casserole I savoured in a while, my friend!

    I made it for a dinner party & it rocked our tastebuds!
    Thanks again, Shaheen! ;)

  18. Thank you so much Sophie.
    Its really wonderful to read. It has been quite a popular recipe. Thank you so much for letting me know.

  19. Made this the other night, Shaheen, and we all loved it. I was especially pleased with the boys wolfing it down.
    Computer has died so no blogging for me for the moment but hopefully back soon.
    Lou. (PDNFTA)

  20. Thanks for letting me know Lou. I am always so so pleased to read such comments, more so when little ones enjoyed the meal.
    If you post the results, I will def. link up from my blog. Also hope your computer gets back up and running x

  21. I think it is important to amuse yourself and what you made looks very nice. I like the color contrast between stew and dumplings. Thanks you so much for contributing to MLLA.

  22. We had this for our dinner tonight and it was lovely! Though instead of parsley dumplings we had cheesy ones. Mr P especially liked the subtle aromatic spices and asked if it was a kind of Indian dahl, and I told him about how your blog fuses British veg with Indian flavours and he was impressed with the idea. Must do more of your dishes in the new year!

    1. Oh thank you so much Pennilessvegetarian UK. I am so pleased to read this,
      PS my husband also prefers cheesy dumplings :)


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